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Old 27th January 2007, 03:14 PM   #1
larissac
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Default Handling Spam From Automated Form Submissions

Hello all,

We're evaluating a few different options for minimizing spam submitted through Web forms (contact forms, registration, etc.) and I'm wondering what options any of you have tried and what results you've seen.

First question, is spam via form submissions a big issue for your site(s) and at what level of traffic did it become an issue? I'm wondering if there's a traffic "threshold" when this becomes an unmanageable problem, or if any Web site with forms has to find ways to deal with automated spam.

Have you used or considered using CAPTCHAs or visual recognition tests to prevent automated registrations? (I personally hate these as a user, but it seems to be common especially on registration sites.) If you're using CAPTCHAs, at what point (volume of spam) did you decide to do so? What impact have you seen on conversion rates or sign-ups since then? Other pros and cons?

In addition to automated submissions via spambots, have you noticed an uptick in "manual" spam submissions through Web forms? What other filtering, anti-spam or security measures do you use (or have you tried) to deal with automated registrations and submissions?

Look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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Old 28th January 2007, 11:11 AM   #2
David Wallace
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We just started using a Captcha image recognition solution because the amount of form submission spam we were getting was just ridiculous. It has of course cut it down to zero and people are still using the forms to contact us.

I figure as long a the image is easy enough for humans to read, personally I have no problem filling in the code from an image. If someone is so lazy that they can't fill in the code from the image, I don't want them contacting us anyway.

We also had to kill the Mailform.cgi as people can use that whether you have a form on your site or not to not only spam you but to send thousands of spam emails through your server.

I believe that image recognition will become more common-place as time roles on. It is simply one of those things we have to put up with thanks to spammers.

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Old 28th January 2007, 12:42 PM   #3
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I've had to address this in a number of ways. Since I do some work for the government, I had to make the forms work without the need for cookies/session nor JavaScript for 508 compliance. The solution was as easy as processing the form on the server and if validated, redirecting to a results page.

My work is on IIS and I can easily see if the user had viewed the content on the form or is just posting to the page... that solved the robot issue as well.

As a standard however, I have found that inserting a form code in a hidden input tag, setting a session cookie at the same time, then looking for that session cookie at the time of processing is all I have needed.

That said, on my forums, CAPTCHA is a big part of validation to keep out the riff raff.



Good luck!!

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Old 29th January 2007, 08:58 AM   #4
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I think this has become an issue with any site that has forms, it doesn't have to be 'popular' to have an issue with form spam based on my experiences. I don't think it hurts conversions to add captcha, as most are very used to them and its almost expected these days.

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Old 29th January 2007, 07:36 PM   #5
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Here is php programming I was working with today. Its pretty easy to work with and instead of the captcha route you ask a simple question (2+2=). The php is pretty straight forward to change, and you can have it ask and answer what ever question you want. http://www.freecontactform.com/

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Old 14th February 2007, 04:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logan View Post
Here is php programming I was working with today. Its pretty easy to work with and instead of the captcha route you ask a simple question (2+2=). The php is pretty straight forward to change, and you can have it ask and answer what ever question you want. http://www.freecontactform.com/
That's a great solution!!!

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